Topeka Zoo helps critically endangered Bali Myna bird species survive


A Bali Myna, one of the world’s rarest β€” and some say most beautiful β€” birds were hatched this month at the Topeka Zoo.

The Asian songbird was born July 2 at the Topeka Zoo, where it lives in the Tropical Rainforest.

The birth boosts that facility’s number of members of the critically endangered species to three, said Joe Maloney, who works at the zoo with invertebrates and in the rainforest.

Bali mynas are among the most vocal birds in that rainforest, where their distinctive plumage and calls make them easily recognizable, he said.

‘Breeding in zoos may be its only hope for survival’

This photo of a recently hatched Bali myna was taken early this month at the Topeka Zoo.

The critically endangered Bali myna is “one of the most beautiful birds in the world, with its striking snow white feathers, lacy head crest and blue eye patch,” says the website of the Cincinnati Zoo.

The population of Bali Mynas in the wild has been reduced by habitat loss and illegal trapping carried out to acquire them to be caged songbirds, said Taylor Miller, the Topeka Zoo’s communications coordinator.

“Only a handful of mynas, highly coveted by collectors, remain in the wild,” says the Cincinnati Zoo website. “Breeding in zoos may be its only hope for survival.”

Mynas eat fruit, seeds, invertebrates

This photo of a recently hatched Bali myna was taken early this month at the Topeka Zoo.  The birds are endangered in the wild.

Bali mynas can grow up to 10 inches long, and live only in Bali, a province of Indonesia, according to the Cincinnati Zoo website.

Their diet consists of fruit, seeds and invertebrates, it says.

Females of the species tend to lay one to three eggs but usually only one will survive, Miller said.

“They are cavity nesters, so the chick is currently located in a special box built by keepers,” she said.

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